AUG 30, 2016 8:40 AM PDT

Scientists Say the Observable Universe is Smaller Than We Thought

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

There is no disputing that the universe is huge. It’s infinitely expanding, and has been since the beginning of time, but scientists have recently come out of the wood work to say that the observable universe may be up to 0.7% smaller than we originally predicted.
 

The universe is constantly expanding in its own little bubble, but it may be smaller than once thought.

 
The paper has been accepted for review by the journal Advances in Astrophysics, although since it’s not published just yet, you’ll have to take Nick Tomasello’s explanation over on The Medium until then.
 
Tomasello is one of the lead scientists of the study, along with Paul Halpern, and both argue that they’ve been able to more accurately measure the size of the observable universe with new algorithms.
 
What was once considered to be 45.66 billion light years in size has now been reduced to 45.34 billion light years in size. On paper, the numbers don’t look like a significant change, but keeping mind that one light year is equivalent to about 5.89 trillion miles, that .32 billion is quite a long distance.
 
Measuring the universe is no easy task. Because of a thing called a “Particle Horizon,” we can’t actually see the edges of the universe. The Particle Horizon limits how far we’re able to see because at some point, particles can’t travel anymore and therefore we fail to see them or the light they emit.
 
What we do know is that the universe is shaped like a bubble and is expanding from the center in an infinite and dynamic way. Because it’s always expanding, it’s hard to place a perfect number on the size of the universe at one given time.
 
Another misconception is that we’re moving outwards with the universe, but a more realistic way to explain the expansion is the fabric of space time is stretching outwards in a way.
 
“Instead, it’s more like the fabric of space-time is stretching, with the result that the distance between every point in the cosmos is increasing,” Tomasello says. “You can picture this like the dots on an inflating basketball: as the ball gets bigger, the dots get further and further apart, although they retain their original orientation.”
 
It’s this very stretching that reportedly slow down the progress of space time as it expands, and is the reason that it was time to update the figure. As Tomasello explains, it’s like being on a train and walking in the opposite direction as the train is moving. Although you’re moving, you’re not really getting anywhere relative to the things outside the train because the train keeps setting you back. This compares to what’s known as “Cosmic Drag.”
 
With that drag in mind, it affects the expansion of the universe, and it suggests that the previous algorithms to measure the universe are dated and no longer sufficient. Newer algorithms could lead to more accurate figures.
 
Source: The Medium via Science Alert

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
MAR 06, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Father of the Dyson Sphere Passed Away
MAR 06, 2020
Father of the Dyson Sphere Passed Away
Last Friday, February 28, 2020, the world said goodbye to Freeman Dyson, was a British American physicist and mathematic ...
APR 05, 2020
Space & Astronomy
NASA Installs the Perseverance Rover's Wheels and Parachute
APR 05, 2020
NASA Installs the Perseverance Rover's Wheels and Parachute
NASA engineers have been racing against the clock to finish building the Perseverance rover in time for the opportunisti ...
APR 06, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Here's How SpaceX Transports Rockets Across the Country
APR 06, 2020
Here's How SpaceX Transports Rockets Across the Country
Rocket launches are a common sight these days, especially given how commercial space companies like SpaceX are pioneerin ...
APR 14, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Everything You Need to Know About the ESA's Upcoming JUICE Mission
APR 14, 2020
Everything You Need to Know About the ESA's Upcoming JUICE Mission
Jupiter is one of the most interesting planets in our solar system, and with that in mind, it may not come off as much o ...
MAY 19, 2020
Space & Astronomy
The Science Behind Eclipses
MAY 19, 2020
The Science Behind Eclipses
A particularly convenient coincidence exists between the relative sizes of the Sun and the Moon, and their distance from ...
JUN 08, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Space Agencies Are Developing Novel Space Junk Cleanup Tools
JUN 08, 2020
Space Agencies Are Developing Novel Space Junk Cleanup Tools
There are thousands of satellites orbiting the Earth today, with some residing in Low-Earth Orbit and others following a ...
Loading Comments...